News and Notes June 16 – by Rod Young Turfdom
The main track played “fair” for the first three days last week, but inside speed was pretty dominant
on Sunday, enough to call it a “speed biased” track. In fact the feature race winner went wire to wire
from the inside to post an $89 upset and trigger a pick six c/o into Thursday’s card of $113,444. The
turf course played fair last week but the times continue to be very slow as they continue to “aerate”
the course. They are running 4 turf races per day in an attempt to keep the fields as full as possible.
This is a tough time of year for the racing secretary, as some trainers/owners are holding their stock
for the Del Mar meet, which opens on July 16.
• They only had five show up for the Grade 1 Shoemaker Mile on Saturday but it was still a good race.
Winning Prize added blinkers for the first time and along with Midnight Storm, they set a pretty fast
pace. Bejarano, who won four on the day, bided his time in last place with Talco, then swept to the
lead in early stretch and prevailed by a half length over “Storm.” Talco was a nice overlay and paid
$28.20 and both he and “Storm” will meet again at Del Mar in the Grade 1 Eddie Read stakes on
July 18, this time at a mile and an eighth. Bal a Bali, who actually went off as the favorite,
“bounced” off his good win in the American Handicap and was not a factor. The win by Talco gives
him and his owners a free ticket into the Breeders Cup Mile at Keeneland on October 31. The cofeature
Saturday was not much of a wagering race but it was a chance to see a champion perform, as
Beholder easily got the money at one to five. She won for the 12th time in 17 starts and is now 10
for 11 at Santa Anita. She won by a length and a half over Warren’s Veneda, but it could have been
five lengths if Stevens ever asked her to run. Mandella didn’t have the two time Eclipse award
winner fully cranked for this race but he promised he would for her next start, the Clement Hirsch
stakes at Del Mar on August 1. Her goal is the Breeders Cup Distaff at Keeneland in late October.
“Veneda” ran as good as she can, but the Cal bred just isn’t in the same league as Beholder, and not
• John Sadler’s Stellar Wind, who had a miserable trip in the Kentucky Oaks, heads the field for this
Saturday’s Grade 2 Summertime Oaks at a mile and a sixteenth on the main track for three year old
fillies. She worked 3/4 this past week in 1:11.60 and looks primed for a top effort. “Triple Crown
Winner” Victor Espinoza has the mount. Tara’s Tango and Fantastic Style will probably be the
major competition. Also on Saturday, three year old colts and geldings will run a flat mile on the
grass in the $75k Singletary stakes. On Sunday, two year olds will be in the limelight with the boys
running in the $125k Santa Anita Juvenile and the girls in the $125k Landaluce stakes. Both races
will be at five and a half furlongs on the main track.
• The jockey race was close for awhile, but Bejarano won six over the weekend and now has an 11
win edge over Tyler Baze at 39 to 28. Joe Talamo is a distant third with 23. The “money” rider at the
meet has been Fernando Perez, who is in 4th with 22 wins, most of them all at double digit mutuels.
The trainer race is much tighter. Doug O’Neill leads with 18 wins, but just one behind are both
Richard Baltas and Peter Miller, both with 17. Top turf trainer Phil D’Amato has 15.
• If you are an owner or a trainer and you enter in a six furlong race at Santa Anita, you “cringe” when
you see the overnights and you are drawn on the rail. Since March 20, that post position at 6
furlongs is 0/38. It’s better at six and a half and five and a half, but at six, it’s the kiss of death.
Favorites win at about 33% on a national average, but they are doing much better than that at this
meet. Overall they are winning at a 39% clip with not much difference between the turf and the